Pitcairn Islands Stamps, Royal Navy Visitors 2009
In 2009 and 2010 Alfred was commissioned to research and prepare paintings for two stamp issues commemorating visits by Royal Navy ships to the Pitcairn islands. The first issue titled ‘Royal Navy Visitors’ featured six early Naval vessels that visited between 1831 and 1886: HMS Actaeon, HMS Juno, HMS Calypso, HMS Sutlej, HMS Shah and HMS Pelican.
The stamps are laid out so that all three, 80c value, top stamps line up to depict Pitcairn Island looking towards Adams Town and Ships Landing side, whilst the $2 stamps line up to depict the outline of the island as viewed from the north side. Alfred is frequently asked if he actually went to the islands but got a good feel for the lie of the land by the research he conducted including meeting and interviewing people that had lived on the island and free google earth flyovers.
Shown above is the first day cover dated 9th December 2009 and date stamp – also both designed by Alfred. This edition won a gold medal for the ‘New Zealand Pride in Print Awards’.
Mini Sheet for Pitcairn Islands Stamps, Royal Navy Visitors, 2009
Alfred also designed the mini sheet for the first half so that Pitcairn Island would line up exactly to other half of the island on the mini sheet of the next edition planned for 2010. He enjoyed the challenge of the project and appreciated the help provided by the London based maritime historian, Graham Ford. He particularly enjoyed researching about the vessels and learning about the interesting navy vessels of the era, 'I particularly enjoyed doing the research of ships during the transition from sail to steam, confusing, yes but also interesting. For one ship of this era I found several different images from different sources but in one it had two big funnels but in others, one, half a funnel or none. I thought they were the wrong ship but then learnt that the big steam funnels could actually be raised or lowered as required. so that they were out of the way when under sail. For other, later period sail & stem ships, I was also confused by shorter main masts and less yards in some photos. It appears that as steam took over from sail, masts were cut shorter and sails gradually removed as they were less used. The Naval ships visited the island for various reasons including survey missions, transportation of Pitcairners and missionaries, medical support and ‘policing roles’. In addition they assisted with census records, delivery of mail and supplies, documenting of Island life and the raising of Bounty relics.
Pitcairn Islands Stamps, Royal Navy Vistors II, 2010
The second edition of Royal Nay Visitors was released exactly one year later, 9th December 2010, and featured more recent Naval ships that visited between 1898 and 2001. The vessels depicted are HMS Royalist , HMS Cambrian and Flora (together), HMS Algerine, HMS Leander, HMS Monmouth and HMS Sutherland. The first day cover depicted above shows the Monmouth leaving the Island and the date stamp shows a more modern anchor than the date stamp of the first edition of Naval Visitors.
Mini Sheet for Royal Navy Visitors II, 2010
This mini sheet for the second edition shows the HMS Monmouth sailing towards Pitcairn Island outside the stamps. This mini sheet joins up exactly with the mini sheet for the first edition to make a whole island.
Naval visits provided important contact with the big wide world for the isolated Pitcairn Islanders, providing anything from medical services, judicial duties, to even providing a source of names for new born children, the ships have become part of Pitcairn’s history. Like the first set, the research for the paintings proved an enjoyable challenge.
Pitcairn Islands Stamps, Supply Ships, 2011
The third edition that Alfred was commissioned to paint for Pitcairn Island featured four smaller ships that serviced the Pitcairns Islands after Blue Star Line stopped calling there in 2003. Supply ships, Southern Slavor, Claymore II, Braveheart and Tapora VIII provide an important link to the nearest island some 500km away in French Polynesia.
There is no wharf and ships anchor just off the island and the goods are transferred ashore in longboats operated by skilled islanders. A visit by a ship is a big event, keenly looked forward to by all islanders, commonly referred to as ‘Supply Ship Day’. This edition was dedicated to all the supply ship crews that service the islanders and tells their story. The first day of issue was 31 August 2011.
Artists' Impressions of New Zealand - 2011
A selection of Alfred's paintings in Denis Robinson's new art book "Artists' Impressions of New Zealand". Released early October 2011, "Artists’ Impressions of New Zealand" – the latest in the bestselling range of New Zealand art books.
In the manner of an artist’s road trip, this book is a journey from the top to the bottom of New Zealand through the paintings of nearly 60 artists. The tour begins with Northland and runs cross-country to the south of the South Island. Work from more than one artist highlights the nuances of each particular region or city. There are 20 regions covered in the book, with an additional focus on the four main cities, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch – including a commemorative selection of paintings – and Dunedin.
The works express the artists’ creative or emotional response to places they know well. The captions tell the story behind every painting.
INSIDE THE BOOK:
Alfred Memelink "Across the harbour from Mr.Cook"
Purchase "Artists' Impressions of New Zealand" online